Bognor Regis town tour raises hope of regeneration boost

A facelift of Bognor Regis town centre could be sparked by a walkabout around the prime retailing area.

Plans for the fact-finding tour by Bognor Regis town councillors and members of Arun District Council’s regeneration, leisure and tourism working group have been agreed.

Working group members Cllrs Dr James Walsh, Phil Hitchins and Dougal Maconachie will be joined by three members of the town council’s environment and leisure committee.

Caroline Gosford, Arun’s senior regeneration manager, said the united stroll would give councillors a better understanding of the issues in the centre and highlight areas where investment should be made.

She said: “I think we are all aware the centre needs a bit of a lift.

“It is looking tired and it could do with some love and care.

“As part of this partnership a walk around the town centre has been planned for January.

“This will help us identify things which could easily be improved and would not necessarily cost a large amount of money.”

The tour, which will concentrate on London Road, will be a chance to decide priorities for spending some of the £500,000 Sainsbury’s is giving to the town next year to mark the opening of its new store.

Working group chairman Cllr Dr Walsh said: “It is a sensible way to help us see some of the problems and give a visible presence around the town. It could also help spawn further regeneration of the town centre.”

Cllr Dr Walsh added similar initiatives in Littlehampton had proved successful.

Fellow member Adam Cunard voiced his support of the plan.

“It is a good idea in principle, but it would help if perhaps councillors who were not from Bognor also took part in the walk around,” he said.

“They would be able to look at the centre and see it with fresh eyes, maybe even noticing things councillors who live in Bognor would not.”

As part of the small-scale regeneration, an independent research company will be employed by the councils to canvass local businesses and traders.

It was also agreed Arun would spend up to £2,600 on the survey to match funds given by the town council.

Arun’s senior economic development officer, Anthony Everitt, and Norman Dingemans, the council’s cabinet member whose remit covers economic regeneration and town centres, will also take part.

Results of the tour will be discussed at the working group’s next meeting on February 15.